Two leading prelates of the Church of England have taken part in a mass gathering of traditionalist Anglicans at a time when the church remains split over women priests and bishops.The Forward in Faith movement, which organized the "Christ Our Future" gathering, opposes the ordination of women as priests and bishops, although the Church of England has had women priests since 1994. So far there have been no official moves to ordain women to the episcopate in the Church of England, although a few other provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion have women bishops.The traditionalist gathering was one of several high-profile church events in Britain over the past few days, many of which were linked to the feast of Pentecost and to celebration of the Christian millennium.At solemn Eucharist at the Christ Our Future celebration, the Archbishop of York, David Hope, the Church of England's second highest-ranking prelate, was the principal celebrant. The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, who ranks third, preached the sermon. The event, at the London Arena on June 10, attracted a near-capacity congregation of 10,000, including 36 bishops, many from abroad, and 700 clergy.Forward in Faith described the event as "the country's largest gathering of traditionalist Anglicans for very many years" and "an affirmation of the orthodox tradition in the life of the Church of England."Chartres, whom commentators have often tipped as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke against the "great preoccupation" of making worship more accessible. "People, we are told, are put off by anything that is difficult to grasp at first hearing," Bishop Chartres said, adding that this was a rather "condescending" view of "the capacities of the person in ...1
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